CGRS Files Amicus Brief in District Court Case Involving Women and Children Detained at Berks County Family Detention Center in Pennsylvania

Monday, May 22, 2017

Families Face Deportation Despite the Children Having Approved Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Pending Applications for Permanent Residency 

The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) and pro bono counsel Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis LLP filed an amicus brief in the case of Osorio-Martinez, et al. v. Sessions, et al., currently pending before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The case concerns the fate of four mothers and children who have been detained at the Berks County family detention center in Leesport, Pennsylvania since 2015. The four children have approved Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and based on that status have pending applications to adjust to become permanent residents. The government is seeking to deport the families due to prior orders of expedited removal issued against them, despite findings by a state court that return to their countries-of-origin would not be in the children’s best interests and the special protections they’re entitled to under our immigration laws as a result. The families have asked the court to grant a stay of removal to allow the children’s permanent residency applications to be fully adjudicated.

CGRS as amicus curiae presented arguments and country conditions information to assist the court in considering the likely risk of serious harm—or worse, death—that the families face if removed to their countries-of-origin in the Northern Triangle region of Central America. CGRS also argued that the public interest weighs in favor of allowing the families to remain in the United States until their immigration applications receive full and fair process under our laws.